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Depression and anxiety are different conditions, but they commonly occur together. They also have similar treatments.
Feeling down or having the blues now and then is normal. And everyone feels anxious from time to time — it's a normal response to stressful situations. But severe or ongoing feelings of anxiety and depression can be a sign of an underlying mental health disorder.
Anxiety may occur as a symptom of clinical (major) depression. It's also common to have depression that's triggered by an anxiety disorder, such as generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder or separation anxiety disorder. Many people have a diagnosis of both an anxiety disorder and clinical depression.
Symptoms of both conditions usually improve with psychological counseling (psychotherapy), medications, such as antidepressants, or a combination of the two. Lifestyle changes, such as improving sleep habits, using stress-reduction techniques or getting regular exercise, also may help. If you have either condition, avoid alcohol and illegal drugs. They can make both conditions worse.
Daniel K. Hall-Flavin, M.D.
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